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My Favorite Master Stock

Here is my favorite “Master Stock” recipe that can be used for a variety of  flavorful dishes. I found it online a few years ago. It is from an article titled, All in A Stew, by Brigitte Hafner on website.

It makes a fantastic eisbein (pork knuckle), as well as an incredible Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) stock. There are additional recipes on the webpage that use the Master Stock.   Look for “Master Stock” on the article’s webpage:

Let me know how you like it…

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Another Bird Flu Outbreak in China

In my book, I wrote about having been quarantined for one week in a quarantine facility in Shanghai because of the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 bird flu.

There is another outbreak of the Bird Flu in China now. The virus has evolved to the H7N9 strain, which is said to be more easily transmittable from birds to humans than the H1N1 virus was.

Since the first part of March, 37 people have died and 132 others have been infected with the virus according to the CDC report of June 7, 2013. The bird markets in Shanghai and many other cities in China have been closed and thousands of ducks, chickens, pigeons and geese have been slaughtered.

As of  April 25, 2013, the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not recommended against travel to China. It is advisable though to check CDC alerts before traveling.

Updated: June 17, 2013

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Chinese Television

You can learn a great deal about a culture and the language of a country  by watching its television programming, which I always do.

I enjoy watching Chinese Television. There are about 35 channels with a wide variety of different types of very amusing programming, comedy, variety, period and comtemporary drama, news, travel and food channels, etc. The production values are very impressive, with beautiful locations, stylish sets and costumes, and the acting is quite good because the actors are very well-trained.

If you are interested to see some Chinese or other Asian drama series, here is a website for you:

One Chinese drama series that I found to be quite entertaining and beautifully done is called, Dreams Link. It has English subtitles:

I have to say that Japanese television is amusing and interesting in its very unique Japaneseness, and it offers many key insights to the Japanese culture as well.

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Confucius said…

Confucius said, “At 20, I was crowned into adulthood. At 30, I planted my feet firmly upon the ground.”

In regards to the onset of maturity, I was pleased to discover that Confucius and I came to the same realization.

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My Shanghai Dentist

When I am in Shanghai, I always get my dental work done, as the cost of dental work in Shanghai is about 25% of what it costs in the U.S.  Initially, I was looking for a dentist that I saw online, but, as it turned out, I was very lucky to find Dr. Winnie, as she is an excellent dentist and a very nice person. She loves her work, is a perfectionist about it, and I think that she is truly an artist, as the work that she has done for me is beautifully done. Dr. Winnie has been practicing for 20 years, and she is a clinical professor at a Shanghai university dental school.

Dr. Winnie has two very sweet and gentle dental assistants, who I call, “The Twins.” You might notice how much they look alike in the photo that I took of them.

Dr. Winnie’s office is a very happy place and, strange but true, I love going there, as I have a lot of fun and laughs with Dr. Winnie and teasing “The Twins.”

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PeaWee the Peacock

My sister, Gretel, lives in a magic forest in the far north. There are many wild and wonderful creatures living in the forest, and one day Bo, my sister’s cat, ran into the house and excitedly told her that there was an amazing creature outside.

When Gretel looked out of the window, she saw PeaWee the Peacock wandering around in her beautiful garden.

In no time at all, PeaWee made friends with Bo and Sam, my sister’s Yellow Lab, and after Gretel fed PeaWee his favorite foods of corn, bananas and raisins, he asked my sister if he could stay. Well, Gretel, who loves all creatures great and small, welcomed PeaWee into her family.

PeaWee is now a very happy Peacock, and his favorite thing to do is to sit on the porch and watch Gretel through the window.

True story.

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Trendy Apparel Websites

Since I am interested in the evolution of trends, I am familiar with several Chinese garment factories. and  are Chinese websites comprised of many manufacturers and vendors of various goods. On these websites are a lot of apparel manufacturers and vendors that offer very inexpensive trendy clothing for men and women. Do not expect high-end quality, but for the money you can have fun buying some trendy styles that you probably won’t see here in the U.S. or in most countries outside of china. Things are shipped via low cost China Post Air Mail, some items have free shipping, and delivery takes 13 to 30 days, usually the latter, so be patient.

I wouldn’t recommend buying electronics or any costly item. When you buy apparel items, be sure to check your measurments, converting them to centimeters, and compare them to each factories’ size chart in order to get the proper size for you. You do not want to have to exchange anything. You can always communicate by email with any vendor to get your questions answered before you order.

Many of the vendors offer the same items, though at different prices, some much cheaper than the others. It is good to canvass and compare, so that you can get the best price.

I have no connection with these websites or the vendors on them, other than having bought some men’s apparel from them.


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The Wild Parrots of San Francisco

There is a rapidly growing population of wild parrots, cherry-headed conures, in San Francisco. From my window on the world, I frequently see and hear a flock of about 30 of them flying from one grove of trees to another, noisily chatting as they fly about the canyon on their daily search for food.

I have been trying to photograph these guys for a while, and I guess they decided that they have been teasing me long enough, as this morning they repeatedly flew close by and landed in the trees and on the telephone wire right next to the window.


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“A photograph…”

One Sunday afternoon I was in Jing’an Park, a lovely park in Shanghai that is just across from the famous and beautiful Jing’an Temple. While there I met an interesting, elderly gentleman by the name of Mr. Li. He was very interested in photography and said something that is “food for thought,” and bears repeating:

“A photograph cannot change the world, but a photograph can show how the world is changing.”

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The Angels of Parmesan

In Italy there is a special group of firemen called, The Angels of Parmesan, who were called in to rescue many wheels of Parmesan cheese that were damaged in an earthquake in Northern Italy. In the earthquake around 400,000 wheels of Parmesan were damaged or destroyed, putting the cheese industry and the economy of the region in jeopardy. Bravo guys!

I wonder if my illustrious and very witty wingman, the multilingual Italian prince, Dario Zampieri, who brews a fantastico cup of espresso at his English Conversation Cafe in Tokyo, is a Parmesan hero.

You can read about my good friend, Dario, and my favorite English Conversation Cafe in Tokyo in my book.